# Zettelkasten
[[Personal Knowledge Management]] [[Atomic Notes]]
Loosely refers to [[Niklas Luhmann]]'s system of notekeeping and linking.
[[Andy Matuschak]] writes a lot about it.
## Digital vs [[Analog Zettelkasten]]
Having a digital version of the Zettelkasten is very different, because the branching structure is immediate and malleable. This loses physicality. [[ZK - The Obsidian Graph doesn't provide physicality]].
Doing the same in a slipbox is not possible. A card has to be put at one single physical location.
## History of the Zettelkasten
[[Chris Aldrich]] has a lot of historical resources about the Zettelkasten:
- [Zettelkasten Method State of the Art in 1898 | Chris Aldrich](https://boffosocko.com/2022/09/09/zettelkasten-method-state-of-the-art-in-1898/)
- [Introduction to the study of history by Langlois](https://boffosocko.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Introduction-to-the-study-of-hi-Langlois-Charles-Victor-1863.pdf)
- [Via: Introduction-to-the-study-of-hi-Langlois-Charles-Victor-1863.pdf](https://via.hypothes.is/https://boffosocko.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Introduction-to-the-study-of-hi-Langlois-Charles-Victor-1863.pdf) contains [[Chris Aldrich]]'s notes.
- [Reframing and simplifying the idea of how to keep a Zettelkasten | Chris Aldrich](https://boffosocko.com/2022/06/10/reframing-and-simplifying-the-idea-of-how-to-keep-a-zettelkasten/)
- [The Two Definitions of Zettelkasten | Chris Aldrich](https://boffosocko.com/2022/10/22/the-two-definitions-of-zettelkasten/)
## Using a [[Zettelkasten]] for [[Mathematics]] and [[Physics]]
[[2022-08-21]]
[The Quantum Well](https://publish.obsidian.md/myquantumwell/Contact) by Boris has a ton of Zettel for Physics and Mathematics to potentially use for inspiration, as well as texts on how he uses it. I found it through this [[Reddit]] thread:
- [Zettelkasten examples from Math/Computer Science? : Zettelkasten](https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/qir1j6/zettelkasten_examples_from_mathcomputer_science/)
I realized while working through [[Programming with Categories]] that there are a lot of similarities between the Zettel I normally create and Mathematics, except that the individual zettel are much more granular, and less "composable", leading to less serendipity. So it is not fully Zettelkasten in some way, although definition cards come in very handy to assemble proofs.
Potentially, bigger insights (as I currently write down as real Zettel) would come in handy to organize bigger topics, and then using the mathematical zettel as actual facts to be combined. It will be a lot of work for sure, working through a mathematics text and extracting nicely formatted definitions. But compared to the work of doing exercises, that will turn out to be nothing.
Here is a more indepth write up by thmprover:
- [TeX-nical Stuff: Zettelkasten workflow](https://texnicalstuff.blogspot.com/2022/04/zettelkasten-workflow.html)
- [Zettelkasten examples from Math/Computer Science? : Zettelkasten](https://www.reddit.com/r/Zettelkasten/comments/qir1j6/comment/hiou2qv/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3)
I really like this part of the above where he explains how he uses the ZK structure in the context of mathematics:
> **Example: Creating examples.** A useful exercise is to go back to examples existing in my Zettelkasten, and try to use it as an example of the new material. For instance, I have the "symmetries of the tetrahedron" as an example of a group. When reading figure 1, I may pose the question: can we express the symmetries of the tetrahedron as a universal arrow? (Not in any obvious way, but there are other gadgets which may be a universal arrow, so I keep looking.) When I find an example [call it a "widget"], I create a new permanent note entitled "Ex: widget (Universal Arrow)", the first sentence is "A widget [link] is a universal arrow." The "[link]" refers back to the original slip which first discussed the "widget".
and
> **Example: Translating content.** Another way to approach creating permanent notes is to "translate" old material from a different domain to whatever I just read. For example, I learned the [Krull-Schmidt theorem](https://encyclopediaofmath.org/wiki/Krull-Remak-Schmidt_theorem) for rings and modules. But currently I am studying finite group theory. Could I frame an analogous theorem for groups?
This links to this interesting paper about "vernacular" for [[Mathematical Proofs]]:
- [www.cs.ru.nl/F.Wiedijk/notes/mv.pdf](http://www.cs.ru.nl/F.Wiedijk/notes/mv.pdf)
## Links
- [The issue of the constitution in Luhmann's Card Index System. Reading the Traces](https://pub.uni-bielefeld.de/download/2942476/2942532/jschmidt_2016_the%20issue%20of%20the%20constitution.pdf)
An article by [[Johannes Schmidt]] going into details of [[Niklas Luhmann]]'s actual approach to his [[Zettelkasten]].
- [The Zettelkasten Method](https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/NfdHG6oHBJ8Qxc26s/the-zettelkasten-method-1)
Super long write up on less wrong. The main value I think was the link to [[BOOK - How to make a complete map of every thought you think - Lion Kimbro]], and wanting to try harder with the paper note taking and cross linking.
[[2022-08-21]]
A full-text english translation of a text by [[Niklas Luhmann]] about the [[Zettelkasten]]:
- [Communicating with Slip Boxes by Niklas Luhmann](http://luhmann.surge.sh/communicating-with-slip-boxes)
[[2022-08-27]]
A lot of very fun [[Zettelkasten]] stories:
- [Zettelkästen? | Hacker News](https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21208196)
## [[Bob Doto]] links
- "Understanding Zettelkasten Notes" [https://sacredkarailee.medium.com/understanding-zettelkasten-notes-d7eb3fae0c45](https://sacredkarailee.medium.com/understanding-zettelkasten-notes-d7eb3fae0c45 "https://sacredkarailee.medium.com/understanding-zettelkasten-notes-d7eb3fae0c45")
- "My simple note-taking setup | Zettelkasten in Obsidian | Step-by-step guide" (video) [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6ySG7xYgjY](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6ySG7xYgjY "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6ySG7xYgjY")
- "What is a Fleeting Note?" [https://writing.bobdoto.computer/what-is-a-fleeting-note/](https://writing.bobdoto.computer/what-is-a-fleeting-note/ "https://writing.bobdoto.computer/what-is-a-fleeting-note/")
- "What is a Literature Note" [https://writing.bobdoto.computer/what-is-a-literature-note/](https://writing.bobdoto.computer/what-is-a-literature-note/ "https://writing.bobdoto.computer/what-is-a-literature-note/") (edited)
## [[Johannes Schmidt]] on [[Niklas Luhmann]]:
- "Niklas Luhmann’s Card Index: Thinking Tool, Communication Partner, Publication Machine" (pdf) [https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/88f8/fa9dfbc0c2b296758dd932b871917c5c775a.pdf](https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/88f8/fa9dfbc0c2b296758dd932b871917c5c775a.pdf "https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/88f8/fa9dfbc0c2b296758dd932b871917c5c775a.pdf")
- "Niklas Luhmann’s Card Index: The Fabrication of Serendipity" (pdf; condensed version of above) [https://sociologica.unibo.it/article/view/8350/8272](https://sociologica.unibo.it/article/view/8350/8272 "https://sociologica.unibo.it/article/view/8350/8272")
- "The Issue of the Constitution in Luhmann’s Card Index System. Reading the Traces" [https://dokumen.tips/documents/jschmidt-2016-the-issue-of-the-constitution-7kh-vvxh-ri-wkh-rqvwlwxwlrq-lq.html?page=1](https://dokumen.tips/documents/jschmidt-2016-the-issue-of-the-constitution-7kh-vvxh-ri-wkh-rqvwlwxwlrq-lq.html?page=1 "https://dokumen.tips/documents/jschmidt-2016-the-issue-of-the-constitution-7kh-vvxh-ri-wkh-rqvwlwxwlrq-lq.html?page=1")